Friday, 21 October 2011

Someone killed Kenny ....

The character from South Park came to mind when I finished my latest project.  Here are the pictures.

I used the hoody top pattern from Papercut patterns.   I haven't owned a hoody top for around 7 years.  I'm not sure why I bought the pattern as I'm not a tracksuit wearing sporty type.   I think I was attracted to the luscious merino grey wool version on the pattern picture and thought it would be something nice and warm to wear in winter.

This may look like a quick and simple garment to make but I had major problems with the fit.  I ended up making three muslins.   On the first try I made the medium with no adjustments.  It came out as a huge shapeless top.  Not quite what I was after.  I pinched in I can't remember how many inches at the sides and sleeves.  I transferred the adjustments onto my pattern pieces, unpicked the muslin and used the same fabric to cut out the smaller pattern pieces.  I reduced the length substantially - around 6 inches. I like a more fitted top and a shorter length as it is easier to wear with skirts, which I tend to wear a lot.   

On the second fitting I wasn't happy with the design of the raglan sleeves.  It just seemed wrong.  The top of the raglan sleeve, where it meets the neck edge, seemed too narrow.  The underarm seemed to finish way down my arm, which was wrong with the more snug fit I was after.  I also thought it was wrong for the seam that joins the front and back panels to the sleeves to be dead straight.  I didn't know how to go about doing such major adjustments.  I didn't want to give up so I decided to have a go at trying to alter the design of the sleeves.

So I traced off new pieces and made adjustments.  I can't remember which order I did them in.  I made the top of the sleeves wider and removed from the front and back panels an equivalent amount.  I then made the seams that join the sleeves to the front and back panels more curved, like an "S" shape.  Not a drastic curve or anything.  I then managed to work out how to alter the corresponding part of the sleeve.  This is where it would have been a good idea to actually write down and photograph exactly what I did as I am struggling to remember now.  

I then made a final muslin.  I wasn't completely happy with the shape but it was a marked improvement.   It took me some time to re-design the sleeves and so I was not about to make further adjustments.   I lengthened the hood by around 1.5 inches. On my muslin I added the front pocket piece.  I really liked this but it didn't work on the drastically short length that I made.   The top of the pocket practically finished at the bust.  I decided against doing the pockets.  

I then cut into my fabric.  I'm not sure what the fabric is but I think it's a man-made knit of some sort.   I'm quite familiar with sewing with knits so it was pretty much plain sailing from here.  I used a stretch stitch, trimmed the seams to around 0.5 cm and then finished with a zig zag stitch.  

The hood was a bit tricky.  The instructions were wholly adequate.   The hood is fully lined and the instructions told you to just "attach the hood".   I couldn't find that many hood tutorials on-line.  A lot of the tutorials were for unlined hoods.   One tutorial referred to an option of attaching a bias strip.  It didn't tell you exactly how to do it but having a bit more experience under my belt now I managed to work this out.  

I decided to attach some twill tape to the neck seam allowance at the front of the neck after I had attached the outside part of the hood.  This was to strengthen that area a bit as it is likely to get a lot of pull from the hood.  

Now that it's finished I'm really pleased with it.  I can see me reaching for this a lot in the colder months ahead.  It looks better than my final muslin.  The sleeves are a bit wrinkly still but I think all sleeves are wrinkly.  I tried on one of my ready to wear raglan sleeved sweatshirts and this was wrinkly at the sleeves as well.  This made me feel a lot better.   I'm now half way through making another top in black.

The alterations were a bit of a pain to do but I am pleased with my achievement - my first time altering the design of a sleeve.  Tops and dresses always seem to need adjusting for my figure.   My Crescent skirt and Miss Chalmers skirt needed no alterations.  This could put me off making skirts and tops as I'll be thinking that they will require a lot of ground work and adjustment.  The upside to making adjustments is that once you have made up one or more muslins, the final garment is a breeze to sew.  I hardly needed to follow the instructions after the first muslin.

I now have a whole week off work so I'm looking forward to lots of extra sewing time.

Happy sewing.  


  1. OMG - you had the exact same issue! And I wish I'd stabilized my neck seam. I thought that even As I was making the garment. I was surprised it wasn't part of the instructions.

    1. I thought your issues with the raglan sleeves sounded familiar! I'd forgotten that I stabilised the neck seam on this top. I wear this red top all the time so it was totally worth the time taken.